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Flickr: spicing your posts up with other people's photos (legally)

by Brian Brown (follow me on Twitter): April 29, 2008

Bobby When it comes to photos on your blog, beware the copyright cops.

They will knock down your door, tie you to a chair, and explain in great detail why you can't use someone else's work, even if the creator of the work has been dead for 42 years, the work itself is now 80 years old, and the law keeps changing specifically so the piece in question can be kept under the ownership of a multinational corporation.

But I digress.

Flickr is your solution to finding photos for your blog legally, quickly, and funly. Not bad for a website that doesn't use "e"s.

Flickr allows users the option to post their photos under a cool standard called Creative Commons Copyright. This allows you to search for photos that you can use and even edit for your blog. Awesome dude!

Hold on partner, don't just start grabbing Flickr photos for your blog. Not all photos on Flickr are usable. Here's how to find the ones you want to use:

  • Search for a photo. For this article, I chose 'London Police.'
  • When the search results appear, look for the 'Advanced Search' link next to the search button and click it.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the 'Advanced Search' page to find the Creative Commons check boxes.
  • Check all three check boxes because you are using the photo commercially if it's for your small business blog, and you probably will want to "modify, adapt, or build" on the image. (I almost always at least crop an image before it gets posted, for example.)

Now hit 'search' and all of your results will be free for the taking. Just remember, when you use a photo you must:

  • attribute! This means telling the world who took the photo. It's best to provide a link directly to the Flickr page where the photo appears.
  • declare that the photo in question falls under Creative Commons Copyright. This means that just as you used the photo, anyone else can come along and use the photo as well, even if you've altered it or added to it. Fair's fair. To declare, link the attribution to the license page for the copyright located here.

Some of my favorite post photos come from Flickr. You can see three of them here, here, and here.

And finally, here's the attribution for my 'London Police' photo at the top of the article (the photo itself is also a link to the Flickr page):

[Photo: Untitled by .craig on Flickr, used with permission under Creative Commons Copyright.]

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Comments

You can actually go directly to the Creative Commons site and use the search function on there. It will not only pull up CC-released photos from Flickr, but tons of other media options from other sites.

This is always my first stop for each new blog post.

Thanks Kyle Awesome resource dude!

Thanks for the info. Very helpful!

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